MINERALS SECTOR: Minister Uchechukwu Ogah lists achievements, says ‘set goals are being realised’

The Minister of State for Mines and Steel Development, Dr Uchechukwu Sampson Ogah with the Executive Governor of Kaduna State, Mal Nasir El-Rufai during the 2021 Annual Kaduna Economic and Investment Summit, KadInvest, on Friday.

The Minister of State for Mines and Steel Development, Dr Uchechukwu Sampson Ogah on Saturday said the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari has been able to score set goals for the country’s mines and steel sector through the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, stating that the realisation set goals has continued to give impetus to the mandate of diversifying the economy.

Ogah, who spoke in Abuja on Saturday, said some major achievements of the ministry in support of President Muhamadu Buhari’s agenda include efforts to optimize revenue from the mining sector. He said the ministry is implementing realistic policy actions in order to optimize revenue. This he said includes the new export guidelines to address low revenue.

“In achieving President Muhammadu Buhari’s mandate of diversifying the economy, the Ministry has also strengthened its collaboration with State Governments and relevant security Agencies to ensure safety of mining areas while also introducing incentives to improve the investment climate for mining activities,” he said.

While assuring that efforts are being made to put an end to illegal mining by formalizing artisanal and small-scale mining activities across the country, Dr Ogah explained that the ministry of mines and steel development has established development partnership with private sector operators in order to create a large number of well-paying jobs for Nigerian youths.

He said: “In pursuit of government’s desire to create multiple jobs, the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development initiated a number of programmes and special interventions,” noting that the National Integrated Mineral Exploration Project (NIMEP) is one of such interventions.

Dr Ogah further explained that NIMEP was designed to take advantage of the underexplored metallogenic belts, stating that it aims to generate reliable geoscience data needed to attract local and foreign investments to the sector.

“The project targets mineral commodities such as gold, lead, zinc, tantalite, lithium, iron ore and nickel among others,” he added.

The minister described the downstream policy being implemented by the ministry as “an effort to ensure that mineral ores are not exported out of Nigeria without value addition,” adding that government is currently developing Artisanal & Small-Scale Mining Clusters in the six Geopolitical Zones of the country. The Zones are Kano for North-west, Bauchi for North-East, Kogi for North – Central, Ebonyi for South – East, Cross River for South – South and Oyo for South-West.

The minister assured that downstream policy will harness ASM mine produce and process them at the cluster centers.

Discussing efforts to streamline processes for efficiency and transparency, Dr Ogah said: “We have upgraded and automated our mineral title administration system to enable online application in processing of mineral titles, and we have also established six zonal offices in each geo-political zone of the country.”

Tine-Iulun M. A who confirmed the development to our correspondent on behalf of the Head, Press and Public Relations in the ministry, quoted the Minister of State as saying that the achievements will go a long way to catalyze government’s set goal of economic diversification since the goals represent development of the solid mineral sector.

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